Cover: A New Literary History of Modern China, from Harvard University PressCover: A New Literary History of Modern China in HARDCOVER

A New Literary History of Modern China

Edited by David Der-wei Wang

Product Details


$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674967915

Publication Date: 05/22/2017


1032 pages

6-1/2 x 10 inches

21 halftones, 1 map

Belknap Press


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The next step on the path to literary enlightenment. Editor David Der-wei Wang, a professor of Chinese and comparative literature at Harvard, offers 161 short and often sparkling essays by a multinational array of writers and academics in what seems the most exhaustive introduction to modern Chinese writing possible in a single volume.—Peter Neville-Hadley, The Wall Street Journal

This monumental anthology on modern Chinese literature is so essential… This book is meant for a broad reading public… It becomes clear reading this book that one can trace the larger history of China itself across the twentieth century by looking at its literature and its writers… A New Literary History offers a potent glimpse into China, as it was and as it is… In this meticulously edited and selected anthology, there really is something for everyone.—Eleanor Goodman, The Los Angeles Review of Books

Wang’s is a daring enterprise… Wang should be applauded for a work compiled to introduce English readers to the habits of Chinese writers and readers… With 161 chapters by more than 140 writers, A New Literary History takes a near-encyclopedic approach to the study of Literary China, one that embraces not only the People’s Republic (including Hong Kong) and Taiwan, but also Sinophone and Anglophone writers overseas.—Geremie Barmé, The New York Review of Books

Magisterial… Gargantuan in scope. It covers its subject from the late 18th century to the current millennium… It’s a remarkable product, even by Harvard’s invariably high standards.—Bradley Winterton, The Taipei Times

A useful introduction to modern Chinese intellectual history, this collection can be consumed in bite-size pieces.—Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View

As China continues to grow in economic and political power, its literature is also likely to become more important in the rest of the world. There will be more and more translations of both its classics and its contemporary poetry and fiction. That makes books like this one all the more valuable to readers in the West who want to understand how China’s modern literature relates to its recent history. Those who wade into this long and heterogeneous collection will discover that the literature is not just a marker of that history, but a component of it.—Nicholas Haggerty, Commonweal

One hundred and forty-three authors contributed 161 short chapters to this monumental survey of modern Chinese literature in all its forms, from the late eighteenth century to the present. Yet the book reads like the work of a single versatile author: vivid, probing, and occasionally playful. It raises to a new level the knowledge available in English about this vast topic, presenting a literary culture more complex, cosmopolitan, and profound than even many specialists might realize. The book presents a wealth of detail about personalities and events throughout the Chinese-speaking world and connects them to cultural forms ranging from poetry, fiction, and opera to pop songs, cartoons, photographs, and film. It challenges much of the received wisdom about how literary history should be written, refutes the cliché that Chinese literature in the modern and contemporary periods has been derivative and mediocre, and opens up inspiring prospects for future scholarship.—Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs

A New Literary History of Modern China stands far apart from the standard state-of-the-field collection. The publication of this book, with its range and breadth of scholarship, is an event without precedent in the field of modern Chinese literary studies. Some of the essays read like polished vignettes while some are whimsical, others build swiftly to a punchy thesis, and others again offer distilled wisdom on a crucial topic. The brevity of the essays holds the reader’s attention at a keen pitch—and more importantly incites more reading. A monumental volume.—Margaret Hillenbrand, University of Oxford

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